TYLER — The 86th Queen of the Texas Rose Festival, Hanna Claire Waits, says she’s really looking forward to the big October event. Hanna told KTBB, “I’m very excited. It’s a huge honor — and I’m just so thrilled that I get to represent the community and learn more about the rose industry.” Asked why the festival is important, Hanna said, “To the community in general, it brings in over $2 million in revenue. And so, it’s just a great way to support the rose industry and kind of foster volunteers and then celebrate together.” As for what makes it special for her, Hanna responded, “I think that the whole process in general is just very exciting. I get to meet new people in the community, learn more about the process of growing roses — and just kind of be a mentor for those around me. And so I hope that I can do a great job and just really make a difference this year.”
Hanna is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Scott Waits. She’s a graduate of All Saints High School in Tyler and a freshman at the University of Oklahoma. The Princess of the Texas Rose Festival is Elizabeth Anne Schoenbrun, and Alexis Renee Smith will serve as Duchess of the Rose Growers. All three were introduced Thursday evening at Willow Brook Country Club, along with other members of the Queen’s Court, prior to the annual Winter Gala benefiting the Tyler Rose Museum. Also announced was this year’s festival theme, “Portraits of Inspiration.” The Rose Festival, celebrating the Tyler rose industry, will be held October 17 to 20.